Defying the concrete guise of its industrial estate surrounds, the aptly named Oasis has emerged as a culinary sanctuary in Melbourne’s southeast.
The bakery, cafe and grocery belongs to Emad and Marwa Makool, who took over what was a fledgling business back in the late nineties. Enthusiastically supported by three generations of their family, they’ve managed to reinvent Oasis and transform it into one of the city’s finest Middle Eastern food stores.
Marwa’s freshly baked breads, Lebanese pizzas and hand-made savoury pastries come daily from the kitchen and attract knowing customers from afar. But perhaps most popular is the decadent sweet selection, which includes baklava, rosewater and almond Turkish delights, pistachio-filled shredded pastries with orange blossom sugar syrup, and ricotta and jam cigars. The cafe menu features more substantial meals, including crowd-pleasers like shawarma, Lebanese omelettes and homemade tajines.
Patrons can survey the immense, adjoining, colourfully appointed grocery store while they’re waiting on their meal. It’s stocked with hundreds of herbs and spices, nuts, beans, pulses and specialty ingredients, many of which are featured in Marwa’s cooking demonstrations and online recipe board. Inspiration is never far away at Oasis, with the aromas of roasting meats and baking pastries intermingled with a suitably Middle Eastern soundtrack.
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